DURHAM, N.H. - Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) made 20 saves and eight different players scored points as the No. 4 University of New Hampshire men's hockey team skated to a 5-2 victory against Rensselaer on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center in the final non-conference game of the season for both teams.
UNH improved to 13-3-2 on the season with its second straight victory, while RPI dropped to 6-9-4 overall following its second loss in as many nights.
Third-liners Dan Correale (Prince George, British Columbia) and Jay Camper (Rocky River, Ohio) each amassed two assists, and UNH defensemen accounted for three of the Wildcats' five goals.
Rensselaer blue-liner Curtis Leonard accounted for both goals in the losing effort.
New Hampshire seized a 1-0 lead at 10:15 of the opening period when Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) angled into the zone from the left wing and snapped a wrist shot past RPI netminder Scott Diebold for his fifth goal of the season. Casey Thrush (Easton, Md.) added his sixth assist of the year.
RPI notched the equalizer at 16:48 of the first period when Leonard buried a slap shot from the left point for his second goal of the season, assisted by Mark Miller and Milos Bubela, to knot the score, 1-1.
The Wildcats controlled the second period, outshooting the Engineers 10-5 and netting a pair of goals to build a two-goal cushion. At 5:01 of the stanza, John Henrion (Holden, Mass.) slapped a perfect feed from Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) into the back of the net from the left circle for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-1 lead.
The 'Cats made it 3-1 at 7:18 of the middle period when Justin Agosta (East Meadow, N.Y.) scored his second goal of the season in improbable fashion. The defenseman's shot changed direction after ricocheting off the skate off RPI's C.J. Lee and found its way behind Diebold. Correale and Camper assisted on the goal.
Connor Hardowa (Edmonton, Alberta) increased the lead to 4-1 at 2:45 of the third period with his first goal of the year. Camper delivered a picture-perfect backhand pass to Hardowa in the right circle, and the Wildcat captain went top shelf above Diebold's right shoulder.
UNH's fifth straight goal was an empty-netter from Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.), his first, at 15:32 of the third, staking the Wildcats to a 5-1 advantage.
Leonard's second goal of the night, a power-play tally assisted by Mike Zalewski at 18:12 of the third, represented the final score of the night.
Diebold finished with 22 saves.
The Wildcats return to action for a critical Hockey East home-and-home series against No. 2 Boston College next weekend, beginning with a Friday, Jan. 11, game at Conte Forum. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be televised live on NESN. For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com.